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Al-Qaeda threatens India over BJP official’s blasphemous remarks

New Delhi tightens security as the group warns "saffron terrorists" of attacks in Delhi, Bombay, UP, and Gujarat.

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Al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) threatened to carry out suicide bombings in Indian states to avenge derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by an official of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Wednesday, New Delhi tightened security as, according to the June 6th letter shared by several media groups, AQIS could attack the capital, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat.

“Saffron terrorists should now await their end in Delhi and Bombay and in UP and Gujarat.”

“They shall find refuge neither in their homes nor in their fortified army cantonments. May our mothers be bereaved of us if we do not avenge our beloved Prophet (PBUH),” read the letter.

The home ministry said the intelligence agencies were checking the authenticity of the threats issued by AQIS.

Read more: Have Saudi & Gulf states banned Indian products after ‘Islamophobic’ statements?

“We have also ordered state police to ensure public gatherings or protests are not allowed as they could be targeted by the militant group,” it said.

Last week, a spokeswoman for the BJP made comments about the Holy Prophet (PBUH) during a TV debate.

Nupur Sharma’s remarks sparked outrage among Muslims in India, while many Muslim countries sought a public apology from the Indian government.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, and Afghanistan also summoned diplomats to protest against the remarks.

In a statement, there 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the insults came in the context of an increasingly intense atmosphere of hatred toward Islam in India and systematic harassment of Muslims.

Following the reaction, Sharma was suspended from the party. The party expelled another spokesman, Naveen Kumar Jindal, over his comments about Islam on social media.

In Uttar Pradesh also, police arrested a BJP youth leader for posting anti-Muslim comments on social media, along with 50 other people who took part in last week’s protests over Sharma’s remarks.

On Monday, India’s foreign ministry maintained that the offensive tweets and comments did not reflect the government’s views.

Read more: Pakistan slams India for BJP’s insulting remarks against Holy Prophet

Meanwhile, instructions have been issued to senior BJP members to be “extremely cautious” when talking about religion on public platforms.